Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Feb 11–Jun 3, 2012

Juan Sánchez (American, b. 1954)
A Puerto Rican Prisoner of War and Much More, 1983
Oil and mixed media on canvas
Collection of the artist
For Juan Sánchez, a New York–based artist of Puerto Rican descent, the canvas offers a receptive surface for exploring issues of political sovereignty and individual identity. An image of William Guillermo Morales, the US-based leader in the 1980s of a militant Puerto Rican independence group, vies for space on a canvas crowded with newspaper clippings, found photographs, religious emblems, and graffiti-like inscriptions. By assembling disparate elements into a fragmented composition, Sánchez reveals the complex layers that form an individual’s identity. Steeped in concerns specific to the artist’s cultural heritage, A Puerto Rican Prisoner of War and Much More is also invested in history, combining the strategies of assemblage so important in the 1950s and sixties with the appropriation techniques that came to define the art of the eighties.